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As A Student From Sikkim, Admission To DU Was A Complete Nightmare

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My admission into Lady Shri Ram College was through Delhi University’s reservation for Sikkimese students last year. Like every other student, I was very excited about studying in DU. However, the complicated administrative process was long drawn and exhausting. It took me almost a month to get admission into a college, and a little more time to secure a hostel seat.

The process not only drained my energy and enthusiasm to start college life but also made my mother suffer. We had estimated that the admission procedure wouldn’t take more than a week. So my mother, who worked at a private firm, took leave accordingly to accompany me through the process. However, the delay affected her professional commitments, which eventually became a factor in her resignation from the job.

There were 13 others with me whose families had to suffer. As they all stayed in Delhi for a month, everyone’s finances took a hit.

Delhi University secures a reservation policy wherein 14 students nominated by the government of Sikkim are allotted supernumerary seats in undergraduate courses of only those colleges where hostel facilities are available. The selected candidates are then required to table their allocation letters granted by the government of Sikkim before the Delhi University Vice Chancellor’s office. The office sends the notice to respective colleges as per their merit, parallel to students’ preferences. Most of the times, the candidates get allocated a college from their preference list itself.

I remember how we were advised to reach Delhi as soon as I received my allocation letter, only to find out that the Human Resource Development Department (HRDD) of Sikkim had not yet sent the file to the VC’s office. Also, we weren’t told that the office doesn’t entertain individual requests, and the file of all 14 candidates would move together. This meant that the problem caused by some students not having registered themselves with the DU portal affected the entire bunch. Moreover, the Sikkim HRDD kept updating the list with new candidates, without updating the VC’s office regarding the same. This directly affected candidates like me who had reached much earlier because individual files could not proceed further.

The process almost took a month for various reasons – approvals, decision making, etc. Instead of giving a particular reason, we were often just told, “We’re trying.” There might have been genuine reasons behind the delay, but would it justify my losing out on two weeks of college which deprived me of opportunities to join societies? Or even adjusting in the majestic space that Lady Shri Ram is?

I am narrating my story because history repeated itself this year – Sikkimese students waited in Delhi for admission in DU from July 20, 2017, without knowing when and where they were getting admission.

As they were assured of definitely getting admissions, some of them sent their parents home and were left to deal with their apprehensions alone. They also heard a couple of rumours which didn’t make the wait any easier. First, the Central Ministry of Human Resource Development was involved, which has never happened before. Second, they also heard that the HRDD, Sikkim, had lost some of their documents. Since there was no way to find out what was happening, they were all on the edge of their seats. Had there been more transparency in the process, my batch last year could have requested the HRDD, Sikkim, to avoid some of the potholes that they were facing. But even we didn’t know the exact reasons for the delay.

It was only on August 27, 2017, that GP Upadhyay, Principal Secretary at HRDD, Sikkim came to Delhi to sort things out. After a few meetings, the letters of admission into Delhi University were finally distributed to the students on August 29, 2017. However, out of the 11 students I was in touch with, only four students claimed to have gotten colleges from their preference list.

One of the students, who scored 93% in his board exams, has been given admission in College of Vocational studies. It is unfair to him because he could have gotten admission in a better college through the cut offs. Pragati, another candidate, explained why she thought this happened, “They played with our patience and emotions. I think they’re discreetly letting us know that DU wouldn’t entertain reservations for us anymore, this is all I can equate with the kind of colleges we’ve been allotted with, after investing so much time and energy. ”

Moreover, even though the policy clearly says that they will only be allocated colleges that have hostels, at least five students have informed us that they have been allocated colleges that don’t have hostel facility. The colleges are looking for alternative arrangements but students claim that they weren’t informed of any such possibility.

The state HRDD should improve its mechanism to deal with the VC’s office, and there should also be some explanation as to why this happens every year. Also, it’s more important for the state HRDD and the Vice Chancellor’s office to let the candidates know what the rules are and update them if they are changing the rules.

The delay in admission and apprehensions about what college the students will get is stressful as their career relies on it. Not knowing exactly what the procedure is further adds to the stress. On top of that, students who underwent this ordeal this year are also dealing with the disappointment of not getting what they were assured. It is making them feel that the mental agony and financial toll of the wait weren’t worth it. All we can hope is that the experience of studying in the university makes up for it.

Image source: Jasjeet Plaha/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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